Welcome to my first crowd funding campaign. It’s exciting to have a new album of music to offer you. This passed year has been a tragic time for my family. My wife’s parents both died after illness, and the atmosphere in our home has been thick with sadness and confusion. Death puts many things into perspective. It forces us to reflect on what we have lost, and can leave us with regrets – things we said and can never take back again and things we left undone.
It is also a powerful time to help put the things we value in our own lives into perspective. Some things we may need to let go, but others require new courage and the strength of will to embrace – particularly things that we may have been avoiding.
Many of the songs on this album have been tinted with the mood of this past year. It has forced me to reflect on the things I value in my relationships, the world and myself. The album title and theme was chosen long before tragedy came to visit, so it is particularly sobering to realize how portentous it is to what has happened.
Another thing that has been made clear to me is that I am now no longer content to simply make art and leave it at that. My process in the past has been to focus mainly on writing and releasing music and then moving onto the next project. I spent very little time engaging with my listeners, thinking they were not that interested in me or my life. But recently I have come to understand that creativity is not an end in itself. It’s not just about a person connecting with their own stories and feelings, but also learning to express those stories and emotions clearly – to make a connection – and give something meaningful to the person who listens or observes.
This past year I have done something as an artist that I have never done before. I been reaching out to people, mainly on social media – through chats, through my casts on Facebook and Periscope, and, go figure, something strange has happened. I have met some amazing, profound and talented people. By taking the courage to reach out I have managed to find a wonderful community of friends and listeners.
This reaching out has been both an enriching and humbling experience for me. Enriching to meet such a receptive and varied group of people from all over the globe who love the kinds of things that I do and humbling that my music, which I always thought was incredibly personal and idiosyncratic, resonates and touches so many other people. The thanks I have received for my music, and the stories that have been shared with me about other people’s struggles and heartbreaks, has spurred me on in these times of sadness and doubt and helped me to write and record the songs for this new album – 16 over the last year.
The songs I have collected for this album are an interesting bunch. While my music will always be painted more in darker shades, the light is also starting to shine more brightly. On this recording I have also collaborated more. The drums have been crafted by long time co-conspirator, Vis Ortis. I have also had the spontaneous good fortune to collaborate with the vocalist, Pixie Muse, on the ominously beautiful song, Dark as Night Sweet as Sin.
It’s also wonderful that I have reached the stage in my musical career where I can essentially be self sufficient. My last album, Shy Ghosts, taught me that it was possible to write, record publish and distribute my work all by myself. I have cobbled together a permanent home studio so that I can write and record when inspiration hits. Of course spending my time focusing on writing, while rewarding for my soul, is not necessarily a lucrative affair. We live in a time where music is both plentiful and essentially worthless. People are used to listening to music for free or next to nothing. While the artist and free spirit in me loves the freedom that technology has brought to my art form, it also makes me despair when I think about how what I do is not seen as a “real job”.
Giving away music doesn’t help me pay the bills, or bring food onto the kitchen table, for my family and myself. That’s why I have started this campaign. Any money that you pledge will help me to realise this project – press the CDs, create the books and T-shirts that you can claim, and also allow me to write more music, make more recordings and help me to continue to explore the rich musical world inside me. I can’t do this on my own, and I want to stay independent in order to continue following the vision that has inspired me now for 20 years. That’s why I need your help, by becoming my patron you can help me to write the songs that speak to your heart in happiness and sorrow. With your help I can produce more inspiring and meaningful works of art that tell stories that are wonderful and real and yet seldom heard from the commercial musical world. Help me to serve you with stories that speak of and to your life.